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Toward new “indigi-journalism” ethics

Journalism ethics can rarely be reduced to a clear set of rules, but it’s crystal clear to RIIC that some of the key principles of journalism ethical codes need adapting to acknowledge Aboriginal protocols and cultures.

That’s why RIIC is jazzed to be spending a soggy weekend here on the shores of the Salish Sea proof-reading two projects that signify an important shift toward recognizing new “indigi-journalism” ethics.

At the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, we’re in the process of drafting ethical guidelines for our students for reporting in Indigenous communities. We want to make sure all our students at UBC who report on Indigenous issues have a document at their fingertips that will spark conversations in class, on assignment, and in their future careers. Our guidelines, being drafted by Heather Walmsley, will codify ethical principles, cultural orientation and practical guidelines for journalism in an Indigenous context. The first draft is looking good!

I also just reviewed a nearly-done Key Terminology Guidebook produced by SABAR (Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection). It’s not quite ready yet, but I can’t help spill the beans! The SABAR team has put a lot of smarts and elbow grease into a very helpful go-to guide for Canadian journalists looking for assistance with proper terminology and lexicon, and guidance in Aboriginal culture and traditions.

Stay tuned. We’ll post the links to both these valuable resources here on RIIC when they’re ready to launch!

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